How many 12-year-olds decide one day they not only want to be homeschooled, but also want to homeschool themselves? How about college freshmen who decide to undertake the Herculean task of reading one nonfiction book a day?
Truthfully, not many entrepreneurs have success stories as colorful and, pun intended, downright magical as Emerson Spartz (this week’s live chat host -- RSVP here).
Emerson’s road from self-taught 12-year-old to successful entrepreneur has one other major player: a certain boy wizard named Harry Potter. Having fallen in love with the massively successful tale by J.K. Rowling of a boy wizard fighting Voldemort and attending Hogwarts, Emerson put his passion on display when he created the website MuggleNet.
Soon enough, MuggleNet wasn’t just a Harry Potter website, it was the Harry Potter website -- with more than 50 million page views per month.
“I got to go on tour, live like a rockstar, attend the movie premieres and after parties, visit the sets, and travel to Scotland for a private interview with JK Rowling,” Emerson told PandoDaily.
“We had, for a time, the most listened-to podcast in the world.”
Soon, Emerson was turning his knack for viral content and community-sourced content into a business model. At Spartz Media., Emerson developed an algorithm to determine the potential virality of content, which helped the company determine what would be spread around the Internet water coolers of social media.
“Ultimately if you know how to make things go viral, it’s the closest thing you can have to a human superpower,” Emerson told Crain’s when selected as one of their 40 Under 40 for 2012.
Spartz Media. now runs more than 18 websites, with more portals opening their doors every few months. These websites accumulate 160 million page views per month and are leading the charge in community-driven content. Before the Huffington Post, MuggleNet published user generated content and Emerson feels strongly about the power of tapping into online communities.
“I want to change the world and I want to do it on a massive scale,” Emerson told Crain’s.
Changing things on a massive scale seems simple when you’re an expert in Internet virality. With his sites growing more and more everyday, Emerson went from a company made up of only himself and his wife to a 30-employee team. Spartz Media has seen their sites grow to attract millions of followers, with nearly 400,000 new fans jumping aboard every month.
This Thursday, April 18th at 3 PM EST is your chance to talk to Emerson about community engagement, online virality, starting a company, and Quidditch. So stop mixing your potions and start conjuring the questions you’ll ask during our hour-long #StartupLab live chat, presented by Citi.
Got questions for Emerson? Bring them with you Thursday to the live chat!